You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

Ypsilanti High School's George Haggarty named state's Mr. Basketball ... 90 years later

By Rich Rezler


George Haggarty (middle row, left) and the 1921 Ypsilanti High School basketball team.

Courtesy Ypsilanti Public Schools

Ninety years after he last pulled on his wool Ypsilanti jersey and quilted shorts, George Haggarty has been recognized as the best basketball player in the state of Michigan.

A 1921 graduate of Ypsilanti High School, Haggarty is the recipient of a “retro” Mr. Basketball award from the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan.

The decade-long project organized by a BCAM committee and high school sports historian Ron Pesch honors the state’s top players from 1920 to 1980, bridging the eras before the Hal Schram Mr. Basketball Award was first given in 1981.

Ann Arbor High School’s Dick Walterhouse was named a finalist for the 1941 award won by Don Osterman of Detroit St. Theresa.

Campy Russell of Pontiac Central -- called at the time "the best offensive high school player in the country" by Johnny Orr, his future coach at Michigan -- won the award for 1971.

Haggarty was an All-State selection for an Ypsilanti team that finished among the top eight in the state, according to the 1921 "Ypsi-Dixit" yearbook - which described Haggarty as “impetuous, active, fierce and young.”


Two-time state champion George Haggarty with Ypsilanti High School track coach D.S. Leland in 1921.

Courtesy Ypsilanti Public Schools

He was the team’s high scorer with 105 baskets in 10 games. Fred Williamson was next with 35.

On the track team, Haggarty won state titles in the high and low hurdles his senior season at a championship meet meet held in Ann Arbor. According to the Ypsilanti yearbook, he wore out before a national meet:

“The National track meet came next at the University of Chicago. Stiff competition was given, and had Haggarty been in form first honors in low hurdles would have been Ypsi High’s. However, George is not super-human, and two track meets with two baseball games in one week are too much for any man. As it was, he took third place, but the time made by the winner was no better than Haggarty’s at Ann Arbor.”

Nominees for the retro Mr. Basketball award are pulled from lists of All-State, All-Conference and All-Tournament teams from years gone by.

This year’s class of honorees is the second set, with selections being made from 1921, 1931, 1941, 1951, 1961 and 1971. The process will be complete at the end of the 2019 season.

BCAM 2011 Selections 1921: George Haggarty, Ypsilanti 1931: Edward Huttenga, Grand Haven 1941: Don Osterman, Detroit St. Theresa 1951: Webster Kirksey, Saginaw 1961: Reggie Harding, Detroit Eastern 1971: "Campy" Russell, Pontiac Central

BCAM 2010 Selections 1920: Harry Kipke, Lansing Central 1930: John Tooker, Kalamazoo St. Augustine 1940: Ralph Gilbert, Flint Northern 1950: Charlie Primas, Detroit Miller 1960: Pete Gent, Bangor 1970: Rick Drewitz, Garden City West 1980: Tim McCormick, Clarkston



Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

Per what we I have read we will not be seeing any Ann All Area selections for any of the winter sports. It is a shame that a local news reporting business tends to neglect the local high schools sports coverage especially the sports that are considered minor sports. Its a shame that we don't have proper coverage for these hard working young men and women.


Sun, Apr 24, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

Pete you do a nice job covering high school sports but will we see anything about the other winter sports, swimming or wrestling.

Pete Cunningham

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

There will be All County boys and girls basketball team articles on the site this weekend along with Player of the Year articles.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.

I appreciate the explanation about why there is virtually no high school sports coverage now, however I have to say that i am sorely disappointed. My kids and their friends play several sports that are not basketball and football and I miss reading about their efforts. I occasionally check MLive but find the articles, if any, are highly inaccurate and incomplete.


Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Nice story but what has happened with current prep sport coverage?! Spring sports have been underway for weeks and nary an article. What happened to the "Spring Sports" preview among other stories. I thought was supposed to focus on local coverage.

Jim Knight

Fri, Apr 22, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

kms: We've undergone some changes in staffing and philosophy regarding coverage of high school sports. Our content director, Tony Dearing, explained the changes in this March 24 story: <a href=""></a> We are working with each athletic director and coach and asking that they report scores -- as they have for years -- but online in the statewide high school sports prep tool at The goal of the statewide high school reporting area is to include results and statistics from every program in the state. We're in the early stages of this transition. You can find local content at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> We will continue to cover high school football and basketball and will write feature and trend stories on other sports.

Ron Pesch

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 12:52 p.m.

Great story! Thank you Rich for taking the time to dig into the high school career of Mr. Haggarty. While ballots focus on players gathered from All-State, All-Conference and All-Tournament teams, the public is encouraged to help with the process by helping us gather data on great players from the past. A real challenge, as Rich has pointed out, it determining what happened to these athletes after high school. We're always looking to enhance the biographies of this selected for the honor, as well as those considered. Visit <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> to learn more about those named retro &quot;Mr. Basketball&quot; as well as those nominated for the honor. Ron

Dr. Vag

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 8:17 p.m.

love these pictures

Rich Rezler

Thu, Apr 21, 2011 : 12:07 a.m.

I agree, Dr. Vag ... I love those old photos. Special thanks goes to Ypsilanti Public Schools PR director Emma Jackson for helping to track them down.


Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

Typical incomplete story. It would be interesting to know what Mr Haggarty did with his life after 1921.

Rich Rezler

Wed, Apr 20, 2011 : 11:58 p.m.

@genetracy: Thanks for your comment. I tried to track down Mr. Haggarty's ancestors for weeks for just that reason ... to no avail. If anybody knows his history after Ypsilanti and Michigan, I'd love to hear about it. Please email me at